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Published on August 3rd, 2008 | by Joshua S Hill

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Australian Scientists Make Huge Automotive Breakthrough in Fuel-Cell Technology

764px-Toyota_FCHV Scientists from Australia’s Monash University have made what one professor is calling the most important development in fuel cell technology in the last 20 years. The scientists have managed to redesign fuel cells, so that in the future, they will make hybrid cars more reliable and cheaper to build.

And the breakthrough component in their design comes from Goretex, a popular outdoor and sporting clothing brand.

Applied to the layer of breathable fabric that Monash University’s Dr Bjorn Winther-Jensen says has revolutionized the outdoor clothing industry, is a newly designed and tested air-electrode that acts as both the fuel cell electrode, and catalyst. The layer is applied at just 0.4 of a micron in thickness, which measures out to be about 100 times thinner than a human hair.

“The same way as waste vapour is drawn out of this material to make hikers more comfortable to less prone to hypothermia, so it is able to ‘breathe’ oxygen into our fuel cell and into contact with the conductive plastic,” Dr Winter-Jensen said.

“The benefits for the motoring industry and for motorists are that the new design removes the need for platinum, which acts as the catalyst and is currently central to the manufacturing process,” said Monash University’s Professor Doug MacFarlane from the Australian Centre for Electromaterials Science (ACES).

“Our reliance on platinum is making the likelihood of using fuel cells in everyday passenger cars, increasingly improbable. The cost of the platinum component alone of current fuel cells for a small car with a 100kW electric engine is more than the total cost of an 100kW gasoline engine. Also current annual world production of platinum is only sufficient for about 3 million 100kW vehicles, less than one-twentieth of the current annual global production of vehicles.”

So far, testing on the new fuel cell has been tested for periods of time up to 1500 hours of continuous use, using hydrogen as the fuel source. So far, no sign of degradation has occurred, or a drop in performance. The same tests also found that the oxygen conversion rates are comparable with that of platinum-catalyzed electrodes, but do not suffer the same poisoning effect.

“The small amounts of carbon monoxide that are always present in exhausts from petrol engines are a real problem for fuel cells because the platinum catalyst is slowly poisoned, eventually destroying the cell,” said Professor Maria Forsyth, Director of ACES at Monash. “The important point to stress is that the team has come up with an alternative fuel cell design that is more economical, more easily sourced, outlasts platinum cells and is just as effective.”

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, a liberal left-winger, and believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I work as Associate Editor for the Important Media Network and write for CleanTechnica and Planetsave. I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), Amazing Stories, the Stabley Times and Medium.   I love words with a passion, both creating them and reading them.



  • http://www.BGelectricCars.com BG Auto

    Please read–Americans need to know!!!!!!!!

    NHTSA Hearings 8/4/08

    I just returned from the NHTSA hearings held today (August 4, 2008) in Washington D.C., regarding the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for NEW Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards (CAFÉ) for years 2011-2015.

    IMPORTANT FACTS: You will not believe what you are reading.

    1) The 414 pages DEIS analysis was based on an average gasoline price of USD $2.16/gallon for 2011-2020. A calculation approved by the NHTSA administrators/managers. Would you believe it???????????

    2) The new CAFÉ rules were also established, negotiated and pre-approved by the NHTSA’s management along with the influence of domestic automotive companies and their lobbyists. We have now established fuel standards for 2011-2020 that presently are already met in the rest of the Western world (see below)

    As one guest speaker said today “are they on another planet?”

    NHTSA “NEW Fuel Standards” (2011-2015) decision:

    Automobiles are to achieve 31.2 mpg by 2011 and 35.7 mpg by 2015. Light trucks are to achieve 25 mpg by 2011, and 28.6 mpg by 2015.

    The NTHSA is also setting a goal of 35 mpg on average for 2020.

    America needs to know:

    The European Union is currently establishing standards, with a goal of reaching 48.9 miles per gallon for new passenger vehicles as early as 2012. The current EU standard already requires more than 40 miles per gallon about 15% higher than the U.S. goal set for 12 years from now.

    Japan currently has a standard of about 40 miles per gallon. Japan aims to further improve fuel efficiency by 17% by 2015, reaching 46.9 miles per gallon.

    China has a current average of slightly under 35 miles per gallon. Chinese fuel standards are on target to reach the government’s goal of 35.8 miles per gallon by 2009. China will not only meet, but exceed, the goal just established by the United States for 2020 — more than a full decade earlier.

    Australia is targeting 34.4 miles per gallon by 2010.

    Canada is targeting 34.1 miles per gallon by 2010.

    Under the current administration, purchasing an electric vehicle is becoming more of a necessity rather than an alternative.

    BG Automotive Group, Ltd.

    (www.BGelectricCars.com)

  • http://www.BGelectricCars.com BG Auto

    Please read–Americans need to know!!!!!!!!

    NHTSA Hearings 8/4/08

    I just returned from the NHTSA hearings held today (August 4, 2008) in Washington D.C., regarding the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for NEW Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards (CAFÉ) for years 2011-2015.

    IMPORTANT FACTS: You will not believe what you are reading.

    1) The 414 pages DEIS analysis was based on an average gasoline price of USD $2.16/gallon for 2011-2020. A calculation approved by the NHTSA administrators/managers. Would you believe it???????????

    2) The new CAFÉ rules were also established, negotiated and pre-approved by the NHTSA’s management along with the influence of domestic automotive companies and their lobbyists. We have now established fuel standards for 2011-2020 that presently are already met in the rest of the Western world (see below)

    As one guest speaker said today “are they on another planet?”

    NHTSA “NEW Fuel Standards” (2011-2015) decision:

    Automobiles are to achieve 31.2 mpg by 2011 and 35.7 mpg by 2015. Light trucks are to achieve 25 mpg by 2011, and 28.6 mpg by 2015.

    The NTHSA is also setting a goal of 35 mpg on average for 2020.

    America needs to know:

    The European Union is currently establishing standards, with a goal of reaching 48.9 miles per gallon for new passenger vehicles as early as 2012. The current EU standard already requires more than 40 miles per gallon about 15% higher than the U.S. goal set for 12 years from now.

    Japan currently has a standard of about 40 miles per gallon. Japan aims to further improve fuel efficiency by 17% by 2015, reaching 46.9 miles per gallon.

    China has a current average of slightly under 35 miles per gallon. Chinese fuel standards are on target to reach the government’s goal of 35.8 miles per gallon by 2009. China will not only meet, but exceed, the goal just established by the United States for 2020 — more than a full decade earlier.

    Australia is targeting 34.4 miles per gallon by 2010.

    Canada is targeting 34.1 miles per gallon by 2010.

    Under the current administration, purchasing an electric vehicle is becoming more of a necessity rather than an alternative.

    BG Automotive Group, Ltd.

    (www.BGelectricCars.com)

  • http://www.BGelectricCars.com BG Auto

    Please read–Americans need to know!!!!!!!!

    NHTSA Hearings 8/4/08

    I just returned from the NHTSA hearings held today (August 4, 2008) in Washington D.C., regarding the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for NEW Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards (CAFÉ) for years 2011-2015.

    IMPORTANT FACTS: You will not believe what you are reading.

    1) The 414 pages DEIS analysis was based on an average gasoline price of USD $2.16/gallon for 2011-2020. A calculation approved by the NHTSA administrators/managers. Would you believe it???????????

    2) The new CAFÉ rules were also established, negotiated and pre-approved by the NHTSA’s management along with the influence of domestic automotive companies and their lobbyists. We have now established fuel standards for 2011-2020 that presently are already met in the rest of the Western world (see below)

    As one guest speaker said today “are they on another planet?”

    NHTSA “NEW Fuel Standards” (2011-2015) decision:

    Automobiles are to achieve 31.2 mpg by 2011 and 35.7 mpg by 2015. Light trucks are to achieve 25 mpg by 2011, and 28.6 mpg by 2015.

    The NTHSA is also setting a goal of 35 mpg on average for 2020.

    America needs to know:

    The European Union is currently establishing standards, with a goal of reaching 48.9 miles per gallon for new passenger vehicles as early as 2012. The current EU standard already requires more than 40 miles per gallon about 15% higher than the U.S. goal set for 12 years from now.

    Japan currently has a standard of about 40 miles per gallon. Japan aims to further improve fuel efficiency by 17% by 2015, reaching 46.9 miles per gallon.

    China has a current average of slightly under 35 miles per gallon. Chinese fuel standards are on target to reach the government’s goal of 35.8 miles per gallon by 2009. China will not only meet, but exceed, the goal just established by the United States for 2020 — more than a full decade earlier.

    Australia is targeting 34.4 miles per gallon by 2010.

    Canada is targeting 34.1 miles per gallon by 2010.

    Under the current administration, purchasing an electric vehicle is becoming more of a necessity rather than an alternative.

    BG Automotive Group, Ltd.

    (www.BGelectricCars.com)

  • solar nano

    Hey Folks,

    What is all of this talk about hydrogen for fueling cars when all you need is an electric socket to fuel a car. Setting up a hydrogen infrastructure is redundent when you already have an electric infrastructure in place to do the job. Every ICE vehicle that now exists can be converted to run on clean efficient electricity. The electric infrastructure is already in place you can witness this everywhere you go and every time you flip a switch. We don’t need hydrogen to make electricity. We need only the sun, wind, waste and salt water and old CO2 emissions, plus the CO2 emissions that are immediately recycled back from the turbines that make electricity from algae that eat C02, waste water and sun to make biofuel.

    Skip the hydrogen, convert the ICE to electric and make only new vehicles that run on 100% electric. The new battery systems and ultra capacitors can charge you vehicle in 5 minutes and give you a 250 mile driving range. That is pretty hard to beat and we can start right making these conversions right now.

  • solar nano

    Hey Folks,

    What is all of this talk about hydrogen for fueling cars when all you need is an electric socket to fuel a car. Setting up a hydrogen infrastructure is redundent when you already have an electric infrastructure in place to do the job. Every ICE vehicle that now exists can be converted to run on clean efficient electricity. The electric infrastructure is already in place you can witness this everywhere you go and every time you flip a switch. We don’t need hydrogen to make electricity. We need only the sun, wind, waste and salt water and old CO2 emissions, plus the CO2 emissions that are immediately recycled back from the turbines that make electricity from algae that eat C02, waste water and sun to make biofuel.

    Skip the hydrogen, convert the ICE to electric and make only new vehicles that run on 100% electric. The new battery systems and ultra capacitors can charge you vehicle in 5 minutes and give you a 250 mile driving range. That is pretty hard to beat and we can start right making these conversions right now.

  • http://www.autounleashed.com Mili08

    Related to this topic, The European SuperSportsCar manufacturers are in big trouble with the EU laws regarding emissions and are likely to disapear if the EU does not reach agreements with them.

  • http://www.autounleashed.com Mili08

    Related to this topic, The European SuperSportsCar manufacturers are in big trouble with the EU laws regarding emissions and are likely to disapear if the EU does not reach agreements with them.

  • http://@wildblue.net MICHAEL J. SCHMITZ

    THATS GOOD, BUT IF IT IS’NT IN ALL COUNTRIES IN MOST AREAS, NO ONE WILL BE GOING FAR. HAVE A NICE DAY. MIKE

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